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Home & garden.

18 October 2021

How to buy the best fridge freezer

Find the best fridge freezer for your kitchen – and avoid the worst – with our expert advice.
Lisa Galliers
Fridge freezer 476343

The best fridge freezers maximise the freshness and lifespan of your food without pushing up your energy bills or being a hassle to live with.

Even if you know whether you want a freestanding, integrated or American-style fridge freezer, there have never been more features, sizes, colours and prices to choose between – and there's even a safety consideration to think about.

Below you'll find the best fridge freezers covering the three main types – freestanding, American-style and integrated. They may not be the most recently tested, but these are the top-scoring models available to buy.

For all the models we've tested, see our full round-up of Best Buy fridge freezers.

Which? members can log in to see our recommendations. If you're not a member, join Which? to unlock the table and gain instant access to all our product reviews.

Table updated: September 2021.

Three of the best fridge freezers

  • 90%

    This outstanding fridge freezer didn't do badly in any of our tests and made short work of most of them. Heat-loving bacteria don’t stand a chance in this exceptionally powerful fridge and for its size, this is one of the most energy efficient fridge freezers we’ve seen. You can rely on the freezer to rapidly freeze your food, preserving it in prime condition. It's an obvious Best Buy.

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  • 81%

    This outstanding American fridge freezer aced many of our tough tests and didn't do poorly in any of them. It's so good we've made it a Best Buy. It's one of our highest scoring American fridge freezers.

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  • 78%

    This fantastic integrated fridge freezer does everything it should, and does it brilliantly. It’s powerful, accurate and energy efficient, and so quiet you’ll barely know it’s there. This high-scoring brand ticks every box and is an impressive Best Buy. It's not a budget option, though.

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  • 78%

    Don’t be put off by the fact that this fridge freezer has been around several years. It’s still widely available, which is no surprise, as not only is it exceptional at storing your fresh and frozen food in top condition, but it’s also quiet, has an accurate thermostat and is cheaper than other Best Buys. Do bear in mind, though, that it was reviewed before we changed our test slightly in April 2018, so the results aren’t directly comparable with others in this table.

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Video: how to buy the best fridge freezer

Watch our video for tips on choosing your next fridge freezer.

What type of fridge freezer should I buy?

If you want your new fridge freezer to fit in the same space as your current one, you’ll probably want the same type, be that freestanding, integrated or American-style.

But if you’re redesigning your kitchen, it’s worth deciding on the type you want early on, when you’re planning the layout. Below, we'll tell you about the pros and cons of each type to help you choose the best for your needs and budget.

Freestanding fridge freezer

Silver fridge freezer in modern kitchen

This is the cheapest type you can buy, and there are more of them on the market than the other two types, so you'll have more choice of model, brand, budget and style.

Another advantage of freestanding models is that you can put them anywhere in your kitchen, and take them with you when you move. But they can be a bit of an eyesore.

See all our freestanding fridge freezer reviews.

Integrated fridge freezers

Kitchen with integrated fridge freezer

Integrated (or built-in) fridge freezers are tucked away behind kitchen cupboard doors and are ideal if you don’t like your appliances to be out on view in your kitchen. 

They’re more expensive than freestanding models, though, and there are fewer to choose from.

Need a fridge freezer for a built-in kitchen? Find out how to buy the best integrated fridge freezer or go straight to our shortlist of the best integrated fridge freezers.

American-style fridge freezers

Kitchen with American fridge freezer

If you've got a large kitchen, or just want a lot of space for your chilled and frozen goods, you probably have an American-style fridge freezer on your wish list. They're sleek, stylish and have loads of storage space. 

Most come with enhanced features, such as separate thermostats for more accurate temperature control, and water and ice dispensers. At the same time, however, they’re expensive, pricey to power and take up a lot of floor space.

Find out all you need to know to in how to buy the best American fridge freezer.

How much do fridge freezers cost to run? 

Your fridge freezer is plugged in and running 24/7, so it's vital to get an energy efficient model to stop your energy bills rising excessively. 

Fridge freezer running costs can vary from less than £30 a year to over £100 per year, depending on the type and size you choose. On average, a freestanding fridge freezer will add around £48 per year, while a large American-style fridge freezer will add around £72 per year.

When we test fridge freezers, we measure how much energy they use to keep cool as well as how much energy it takes to chill and freeze fresh items, so you can work out how much extra the appliance is likely to add to your bills before you buy. 

We've pulled this information together into this handy tool below, so you can check the model you're interested in before you buy.

How much should I pay for a fridge freezer?

The average price of all the fridge freezers we've reviewed is a fairly hefty £800, but you don't have to spend anything like that to get a great one.

Fridge freezer prices: Best Buys vs Don't Buys vs Eco Buys

Fridge freezer prices: Best Buys vs Don't Buys vs Eco Buys

Based on all the Best Buy, Don't Buy and Eco Buy fridge freezers available on which.co.uk as of September 2021, this graph shows that most of our Best Buys fall within the £400 to £700 price band. One of the best freestanding fridge freezers we've ever tested, for example, falls into the £400 to £700 price band. 

Similarly, all our current Eco Buys are in the £400 - £700 and £700+ price brackets.

The chart also shows that there are currently no Best Buy fridge freezers to be had for under £400. We also found plenty of Don't Buys at this price point, so you need to pick carefully if you're after a cheap fridge freezer.

Paying more can also also unlock some premium features, such as super-sleek black steel finishes and multi-temperature zones.

The integrated or American models we've seen tend to cost more than freestanding models, so you'll need to spend more if you have your eye on one of those.

Only interested in the cheapest? See our list of the top five cheap fridge freezers.

What size fridge freezer should I buy?

Before making a commitment, consider both the external dimensions and the internal storage volume of your potential fridge freezer.

External dimensions

It goes without saying that you need to carefully measure the space in your kitchen before buying a new fridge freezer. 

But as neat as a snug fit looks, bear in mind that you often need to allow for additional space at the back, and sometimes the sides, of the appliance. These are important, as they can help prevent the fridge freezer from overheating.

Internal storage volume

Before you start comparing fridge freezer storage volumes, bear in mind that manufacturers typically calculate this with all the shelves, drawers and door racks taken out. 

When we test fridge freezers, we leave everything inside and measure the space you can actually use for storing food.

Manufacturer's storage measurements vs Which? test results

Manufacturer's storage measurements vs Which? test results:

This graph shows why you might find that your fridge freezer is less spacious than you think. 

The differences between our measurements and manufacturers’ can be huge – the worst differ by more than 30%. Even fridge freezers with the same external dimensions can hold different quantities of food.

Can you buy an eco-friendly fridge freezer?

Eco Buy Logo

A lot of a fridge freezer's environmental impact will come from it being on all day, every day.

When replacing a faulty model, buying one that’s energy efficient is a great way to reduce your environmental impact, and save you money.

But not all energy-efficient fridge freezers are good chillers, and some are from brands that develop faults quicker than average.

That's why we've started recommending Eco Buy fridge freezers. These are ones we've chosen as balancing good chilling and freezing performance with energy efficiency and brand reliability. To find the most sustainable models, go to our fridge freezer reviews and use the filter for Eco Buys.

Read How to dispose of or recycle a fridge freezer for advice on responsibly getting rid of an old appliance.

Fridge freezer energy label changes

From 1 March 2021, a new energy label came into force, which replaces the confusing A+, A++ and A+++ ratings and resets the scale back to A to G. This is designed to reinvigorate the sustainability race for manufacturers by completely emptying the top A-rating to leave room for improvement. At first it will affect washing machines, washer-dryers, dishwashers, refrigeration appliances, lighting and TVs, with tumble dryers, ovens and other appliances remaining on the old label for now.

New energy label

The new label for refrigeration (above) states the capacity of chilled and/or frozen compartments in litres and there is a new measure for noise emissions.

The new ratings will go from A to G and are a clearer reflection of how efficient your appliance is by modern standards. Each label has a QR code for more product information which links to the product on the manufacturer’s website. Energy consumption is presented either as kWh per year, kWh per 1,000 hours or kWh per 100 cycles, depending on the product group. This is a change from the old label, which was often based on an estimated use over a year.

When buying a fridge freezer, you may spot that it comes with both the old label and the new label. This is because some retailers may have stock of products displaying both labels while the switchover happens, but this should gradually phase out the further through 2021 we get. 

See all our recommendations for Energy-efficient fridge freezers

What fridge freezer features should I look for?

Fridge freezer water and ice dispenser

Fridge freezers may seem like little more than large cool boxes, but there are an array of features available to help make your life easier and preserve your food better.

What you get will largely depend on the amount you spend, as most of the nice-to-haves will add to the price. The following are worth looking out for:

  • Frost-free freezer – if you pick only one feature, make it this one. You’ll save hours of time and a lot of mess by never having to defrost your freezer. See all our frost-free fridge freezer reviews.
  • Door alarms – these will sound when you leave the door open, so you shouldn't ever wake up to find a pool of water and thawed food after inadvertently leaving the freezer door open overnight.
  • Water and ice dispensers – there are a growing number of freestanding and American-style fridge freezers to choose from if you want chilled water and ice at the touch of a button. But check whether you're getting a model you refill yourself or needs plumbing in.

Visit fridge freezer features explained to read more about these and other features.

Fridge freezers in garages

Fruit and vegetables in a fridge

Every fridge freezer has a climate class, which tells you the range of room temperatures it’s designed to work in. 

In the UK, models have a climate class beginning with either SN or N, meaning they're designed for room temperatures as low as 10°C or 16°C respectively.

Unless the manufacturer says otherwise, using a fridge freezer outside its designated range could damage it and invalidate your warranty – which is why you'll struggle to find ones suitable for the garage.

Regardless of climate class, we test every fridge freezer in room temperatures as high as 32°C and as low as 10°C, as this is how hot and cold it can get in your kitchen at different times of year.

The worst models struggle to maintain a safe and stable temperature in these conditions, potentially reducing the lifespan of your food.

Read our advice on 10 ways to keep food fresher for longer.

Does the fridge freezer have flammable plastic backing?

Fridge freezer backing

All fridge freezers need insulation to keep cool. This insulation is flammable, so it's essential it's sufficiently protected in the unlikely event of a fire. Before July 2019, the backing that covered fridge freezer insulation could be made from plastic, metal or aluminium laminate.

But in July 2019, new British safety standards were introduced. Fridge freezers made with flammable plastic backs do not meet these new standards, however it remains legal for retailers to sell models with plastic backing which have already been made, so there could be some still available on the market.

Read more on fridge freezer safety.

For the full list of appliances that help keep food fresher and nutrient-rich for longer, whatever the temperature in your kitchen, head straight to our Best Buy fridge freezer recommendations.